Yate Town FC hope to build on support from FA Cup run
YATE Town’s recent run to the FA Cup 1st round and a tie against Yeovil earned the club in excess of £25,000 in prize money and sponsorships – and now the club is hoping to build on that success.
They might have lost 5-0 to their more famous visitors, but officials believe it is the latest building block in the club’s ambition to climb further up the non-league pyramid.
Commercial Manager Mark Thorne said: "It was our first home game at this stage of the competition and only the second time we have reached so far.
"It was great to see the stadium full, with a 1,600 crowd with tickets which sold out within six hours. It shows the potential the club has got and it is just a matter of getting some of those to come back now."
The Bluebells average around 250 spectators for home matches in the Southern League Premier South, where a run of good form had taken them to seventh as the Voice went to press.
There was a small increase in attendance for the following home league game against Taunton Town and the club hopes to attract fans from Bristol City and Bristol Rovers when their teams are playing away on a Saturday.
Mark said: "We’re trying to work on the community side of the club and it was great to see younger fans turn up for the cup tie.
"We are working to build an association with those who follow Rovers and City and hopefully after our cup run they will have been impressed with the standard.
"We had a lot of interest from local companies, with three or four taking advertising boards around the pitch and generally it was great for me, as commercial manager, because companies were coming to us rather than me having to chase them!”
Above and top: the crowd at Yate Town's FA Cup match. Pictures courtesy of B.East Photography
There is one downside to Yate’s cup success – their run has attracted interest in their players from other clubs. As a result, following the Yeovil game, club captain and leading scorer Dave Sims-Burgess signed for Bath City, who play a division higher in the National League South.
Mark said: "The last time we reached the 1st round in 2012 we also lost a couple of players off the back of that success. However, our manager Paul Michael is already pro-active trying to replace him."
While the Football League is still a long way away, Mark says clubs should "never say never".
He said: “It would take a significant cash injection because the step up in facilities and players required to compete in National League South and above is huge.
"But we are the third highest ranked club in the Bristol area and we need to get that message out there and get people to come out to watch."
*The Football Association has confirmed that it is carrying out an investigation in to allegations that two Yeovil Town players were subjected to “discriminatory abuse” from members of the crowd at Lodge Road during the FA Cup tie.
Mark said the club are unaware of the exact allegations and are awaiting contact from the Football Association. An FA spokesman told the Voice they cannot comment while the investigation continues.
On the pitch, the Bluebells' FA Cup run may have ended with a 5-0 home defeat, but a nine-match unbeaten run in the league has seen the side rise to seventh place in the Southern League Premier South.
Ahead of Saturday's match against in-form Metropolitan Police, they had risen to within a point of the play-off places.
Since the 2-0 home defeat to Truro City on September 14, the Bluebells have won six and drawn three fixtures.
The last month's results include a 3-1 win over Walton Casuals, a thumping 5-2 victory at home to Salisbury, a 0-0 draw at home to Taunton Town, a 2-1 home win over Poole Town, a 3-1 away victory over Swindon Supermarine and a 2-2 draw away at Hartley Wintney on November 23.